Tiny Wonders

Miniature versions of things are fascinating; the smaller and more intricate they are the harder they are to do – and the more we appreciate them.

Someone suggested that a miniature city/landscape could use a little Google street-view car. Naturally, that led to the thought, “I wonder what the car would see?” and someone had to make that happen. [bi] You can see the street view images on Google maps [maps]

The mini google street view car

Here’s a bit of downtown America in miniature street view.

[source: google street view]

the actual camera car

I wish there was, somewhere in all that, a cybercafe – and, in the cybercafe a guy sitting in front of a computer, with google maps on the display, looking at an image of a miniature guy in front of a computer, in a miniature cybercafe.

streetview, Hamburg

Google has a jump-page that drops you into various cool places in the miniature world: [goo]

The amount of effort that went into making these is staggering. When I look at the night-lit city, all I can imagine is the wiring harness that must exist under the streets and between the buildings, and what it must take to maintain. This sort of lighting would not be possible in the days of little incandescent miniature bulbs. LEDs make it possible but incredibly difficult.

Next project: dust a stadium with thousands of little people standing in it. Does this miniature world exist in a positive air pressure HEPA-filtered environment? Still: humans shed things – what if a person loses a strand of hair and it lands on the railway track and causes a passenger disaster? A cat, in this world, would be as destructive as Godzilla.


  1. kestrel says

    So awesome. I love the way they shot some of these photos; it nicely gives the feeling of distance or scale. I’m not sure the love of miniatures is a common passion but I love it too, and I love looking at other people’s work and trying to figure out how they got that effect or how they did this part etc.

    The wiring for the lighting is just simply way beyond me – I can sure appreciate the amount of planning and effort though! The effect is incredible.

  2. DonDueed says

    Actually, there was quite a bit that could be done in miniature lighting before the days of LEDs. As a teen I got into model railroading (nerd alert!). In those days the light source of choice was the aptly named “grain of wheat” bulb. Those were quite a bit smaller than the first generation of LEDs.

    LEDs provide a lot more flexibility and variety now, though. Also essentially unlimited lifespan.

  3. says

    In those days the light source of choice was the aptly named “grain of wheat” bulb. Those were quite a bit smaller than the first generation of LEDs.

    I used a few of those in our railway set-up when I was a kid. Maybe I just didn’t handle them right but they burned out eventually. And, of course, I’d wanted the wiring to be reliable so I soldered and heat-shrink tubed it. That way, when the bulbs burned out, I proceeded to destroy everything while attempting to cut out the dead ones and replace them.